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Posts tagged “Children’s dental health”

Dental Experts Offer Advice for Parents to Keep Dental Disease at Bay Over Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and for many of us, the festive break involves indulging in plenty of sweet treats. This Christmas, dental experts are urging parents to follow some simple steps to reduce the risk of dental dramas and protect their children’s teeth.

Associate Professor Gill Jones, from Plymouth University, said that dentists don’t want to be a3601023_blogpear scrooge-like at Christmas, but there are some tips that can help ensure children enjoy Christmas treats without causing major damage to their teeth.

Professor Jones and the team at Plymouth’s Peninsula School of Dentistry have released a set of guidelines to reduce damage caused by over-indulging this Christmas.

Dentists are urging parents to cut down on fizzy drinks, especially between meals and before bed, limit grazing between meals and recommend healthy low-sugar snacks when children are hungry, such as cheese cubes, carrot sticks, wholegrain crackers and fruit. Eating between meals can cause serious damage to the tooth enamel, as bacteria release acids when you eat and if you’re always snacking, this means that your enamel is always under acid attack. Be wary of foods that seem healthy, such as dried fruit and fruit juice, as these can be very sugary.

Parents are also encouraged to stick to normal brushing routines, as at Christmas time your daily routine can change. Always ensure children brush day and night and try to set a timer to make sure they hit the recommended 2 minute target. Dentists are also encouraging the use of fluoride toothpaste.

Call To Ban Sugary Drinks In Schools

Dentists have called on head teachers to stop selling sugary drinks in schools. 318711_blog

Dentists are concerned that the selling cans of sugary drinks to pupils will undermine the work they have been doing to teach children how to look after their teeth and gums.

The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) also says that with obesity becoming a major problem in the UK, allowing children to buy fizzy drinks during school-time will not help matters.

Many schools at the moment have limited funds. Vending machines selling pop and other unhealthy food products help to raise that much needed extra income.

However, dentists and other medical professionals believe this a very misguided approach, and will only fuel major health problems which will cost the country as well as individuals in the longer term.

Interestingly, although some schools have taken a responsible view and posed a ban on sugary drinks during lunchtime, this has caused a backlash from some parents.

The government is also reluctant to intervene. The health minister recently suggested that head teachers are acting responsibly.

Chief executive of the BDHF, Dr. Nigel Carter told reporters that fizzy drinks are one of the major causes of dental health problems in children.

He pointed out that one in 4 children starting school will do so with tooth decay already.

Although canned pop is banned in all local authority controlled schools, the present government have been encouraging schools to opt out, and manage their own affairs as they see fit.

As a result, academies and the controversial free schools set up after 2010 are not obliged to ban such products, although the government is said to be re-writing the law to encourage them to do so.

Whether it works or not is another matter. The government have ruled out legislation banning outright the sale of fizzy drinks and other sugary foods and beverages.

Shocking Statistic Revealed About British Children


A study carried out by the Department of Health has found that half of all children living in England have tooth decay or are in danger of suffering from it.

The study classified the children into 3 groups – red, amber and green, with red being the seriously damaged oral health group. The Department of Health found that 50% of children by the time they turned 17 were either in the red or amber groups.

Interestingly, the investigation also looked at adult oral health and found that only 16% fell in the green group.

Speaking with reporters, one paediatric dentist stated that studies suggest children who eat and drink between meals are likelier to suffer from tooth decay.

Dr. Stephen Fayle also added that parents believe they are giving their children healthy drinks between meals, but in fact they can cause a lot more harm.

Although the statistics are in themselves shocking, the chief dental officer for England, Barry Cockcroft believes they are not that remarkable in the grand global scheme of things.

He pointed out that no other country has reported lower statistics. He also said the American Centre for Disease Control & Prevention has found dental disease in American children (6-19) is the most common condition.

Oral health in general is also undergoing some remarkable advances. So, while it is disappointing that some 30,000 British children are hospitalised with tooth decay each year, over time specialists believe with proper, advice, training and help, this figure will reduce.

Drinking Milk Helps Reduce Plaque

3589945_blogDentists have suggested that drinking milk after breakfast helps to reduce plaque build-up – even stop it completely.

The study carried out in the USA appears to show that drinking just a small amount of milk reduces the build-up of the acids which are the cause of plaque, and ultimately tooth decay.

Effectively, milk acts as a neutraliser for acids which is found in fruit juices and other foodstuffs including breakfast products. As milk is a good source of calcium it is also helps re-mineralise teeth.

Speaking with reporters, Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: “It is important to remember is that it is not the amount of sugar you eat or drink, but how often you do it.”

He added the emergence of snacking throughout the day on sugar laden produce is what has put people’s oral health at risk more so than say, a sugary breakfast cereal.

In a recent survey consumer magazine WHICH? found 12 out 14 breakfast cereals tested contained far more sugar content than is good for our health.

Dr. Carter also emphasised the need to remove sugary products from our everyday diet. Eating chocolate or drinking a fruit juice on occasions will not cause damage, but over indulgence over a long period of time will cause major problems.

He was particularly concerned with children and wished parents would take a little more responsibility in what they give their offspring.

“These [sugary products] pose a significant risk to oral health, particularly for young children.”

Schoolchildren Involved In National Smile Month

2005224_blogJune is National Smile Month with many dental practitioners involved in all sorts of promotional activities.

One dental practice decided to get local schoolchildren involved by visiting their school and running fun workshops, giving talks and so on.

And fun was the operative word. Members of the practice even went as far as taking into the school a giant set of teeth combining it with a competition to see who can make the best bug.

Oral health over the last few years has focused more on preventive dentistry rather than treatment. National Smile Month aims to educate and inform, focusing on children in particular but not exclusively.

By ensuring that young people regularly clean their teeth and gums it is hoped they will develop proper habits that will continue into adulthood.

Welcoming the different approach taken by this particular dental practice, Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter told reporters: “We are delighted that Perfect 32 has joined the many dental practices, schools, health professionals and community groups promoting good oral healthcare under the umbrella of our National Smile Month campaign.”

As for the practice itself, Nicki Rowland, the practice manager added that she was exceedingly pleased to take an active part in National Smile Month.

She hoped that the children who took part learnt a lot about proper oral care and how it relates to their overall health. She also believes that children had fun and that the Smiley theme was well received.

Ms Rowland also pointed out that poor oral health and hygiene can have an adverse effect on children’s scholastic achievements. Tooth and gum pain can cause a lack of concentration; it can also stop a child thriving, eventually reducing their self-esteem.

Dentists From The USA And Israel Unite

There has been a long standing positive, close relationship between the USA and Israel. Both countries have been benefiting from each other both militarily and economically ever since Israel was founded in 1948.

Now it seems that dentists in the two nations have decided to develop a closer, collaborative relationship.

One aspect of this partnership takes the form of raising money to help for the Jerusalem Dental Centre for Children. The latter is a not for profit organisation that treats and promotes preventive oral health for people living in Jerusalem and the wider country.

One of the main promoters of this new relationship is a Beverly Hills dentist, Dr. Frey who worked in Israel during the 1990s. He was so overwhelmed by his experience of too many suffering poor oral health but unable to afford treatment, he vowed to do something to help.

Dr. Frey told reporters: “There wasn’t a place that was providing quality dentistry for low-income patients.”

As such, he helped raise money to develop the Jerusalem Dental Centre for Children. Since then it hasn’t looked back.

For instance, at the beginning of December last year Dr. Frey organised a benefit night in his home town to raise money for the centre.  Many of those attending were also Dr. Frey’s patients who wanted to help out by raising much needed funds.

Dentists in the USA are known nowadays for their altruism. While some have got involved in schemes to help underprivileged or underserved people in the USA or in very poor parts of the world, this is perhaps the first venture in another relatively prosperous nation.

Summertime Holidays Play Havoc With Oral Health

That’s the conclusion of a paediatric dental clinic based in South Carolina.  Anderson Paediatric Dentistry recently embarked on a campaign to help parents incorporate a ‘back to school’ dental health regime.

The dental surgeons at the practice believe that children often forget to look after their teeth during holiday periods, particularly the long summer time holiday periods. Consequently, children shift from their routine until they return to school in September.

This in turn could affect their education, as they are more likely to develop dental problems.

A spokesperson for the American Academy of Paediatrics, Dr. Alycia Rodgers told reporters: “Children with preventable or untreated health and development problems may have trouble concentrating and learning.”

She added: “When a child has serious tooth decay, it can affect overall health and can lead to problems in eating, speaking and paying attention in class.”

In the UK, children attending primary schools are generally offered help, advice and even equipment such as toothpaste and toothbrushes. These are generally sent from the local NHS primary care trust to the child’s home. Yet, even in Britain the same problems of ignoring current dental routines can put a child’s oral health at risk.

In the USA, the problems can be exacerbated, as there generally isn’t a planned approach to children’s oral health. If there is it is often patchy and uncoordinated.

Consequently, it is left to local private clinics and local dental health associations to get the message across that irrespective of holidays, it is still imperative to look after teeth and gums.

In the case of the clinic it has altered its opening and closing times to try to encourage as many parents to bring their children along for checkups and treatment before they return to school.

Hopefully parents will make use of this extra service.

Children’s Dental Health Investigated by ITV’s ‘Tonight’ Programme

Last week ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme  investigated the state of children’s oral health in Britain today, with some shocking findings.

In a preamble to the programme itself, the presenter said: “There has been remarkable progress in dental health recently – yet a third of children in the UK have tooth decay by the time they start primary school.”

The presenter added: “Every year tens of thousands of them require hospital operations to remove their rotting teeth. Tonight investigates why this entirely preventable disease is still such a problem in 2012 and what can be done to eradicate it.”

The programme itself investigated the oral health of several children, one of whom was having several teeth removed. In fact, the decay in the little girl’s mouth was so bad that she had to have a full scale operation.

The programme also investigated how Scotland’s dental initiative called Childsmile works. Until very recently Scotland was one of the worst areas of the UK with dental health problems affecting all ages.

Among the treatments offered in the scheme is fluoride varnishing for pre-school children, who are often the most vulnerable victims of decay, as they are frequently given unhealthy drinks both during the day and at night before bed.

The British Government last year removed the need for schools to bring in dental experts to check children’s teeth. The argument was that it was neither cost effective nor did it offer a good solution.

However, given the poor oral health of children in the UK as a whole, this decision may be one that will have to change.

Cubs Advised on Oral Health

Scouts and cubs are well known for embracing new ideas, which help members develop and improve not just their knowledge but also their lives. So, it is not surprising that cub organisations are now thinking about the importance of oral health.

One of the first to invite dentists to talk about oral health and how cubs can keep their mouths and teeth fresh and clean was First Bookham Oak Pack. They were given a lesson by local dental hygienist, Trudie Dawson.

The aim of the lesson was to educate the children in a fun and non-threatening manner and they felt simply telling children what would happen if they didn’t clean their teeth would most likely be counterproductive. However, making the dental lesson lively and fun was much more interesting and therefore more likely to produce positive results.

Children love anything gruesome, so Trudie obliged by showing the boys pictures of rotten teeth, while explaining why it happens. Hopefully the message will have got through that eating and drinking too many sugary products without cleaning teeth will result in decay and lost teeth, not to mention diseased gums.

Speaking with reporters afterwards, Trudie said: “The sessions were very important, as children today are bombarded with all kinds of sugary foods and fizzy drinks, which are contributing to an increase in the prevalence of decay and gum disease among young children.”

As well as offering advice on how to look after teeth and gums, Trudie emphasised the need to get regular checkups with the dentist.

Major Issue Regarding Children in Saskatchewan

It seems that in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan children are more likely to be fully anaesthetised while having a dental operation than for any other medical treatment.

Recent reports suggest that children’s teeth in the province are so bad that they have to be put to sleep. What’s more, out of the 1900 on the waiting list for dental treatment, more than 50% are under the age of 6, while 75% are under 10.

Speaking about this to local reporters, a dental therapist, Penny Griffith said: “It’s an accepted thing — the front smile being black and stubby. It’s so ‘normal’ here that it doesn’t matter.”

Another dentist, Dr. Mohan Teekasingh’s, confirmed this. During an average day he will carry out 6 to 8 drillings and filings, and extract 4 to 6 teeth. He said: “A lot of these kids, unfortunately, live with the pain and take it as part of their normal existence.”

Dentists in the province are naturally concerned about this, as periodontal disease in children can prevent them from eating properly, cause continual pain and interfere with their education and every day lives. Yet it is preventable.

Dentists are also concerned that children have to undergo full anaesthesia. Dr. Gerry Uswak, dean of the University of Saskatchewan’s dentistry college told reporters: “It’s a travesty that many children have to be going through a general anaesthetic because of the end stage of dental disease — something that’s preventable. It’s a crime.”

One of the major reasons for this crisis is poverty. While gum disease is not related to poverty, children from poor families tend to be less aware of the need to eat well and have regular dental checkups, as well as looking after their teeth. The problem is particularly acute among the Canadian Indian population, who tend to be poorer than their white compatriots.

“If you don’t have a roof over your head, or mum or dad are drinking again, or, there’s a party at your house, or maybe 85 people live at your house, maybe teeth brushing isn’t just as important as it is to us,” dental therapist Penny Griffith said.

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